OrderPaperToday – Chairman of the House of Representatives Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has blamed the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF) for ‘most’ of the loopholes in revenue remittances and annual rendition of accounts by some agencies.
PAC Chairman, Oluwole Oke who described it as negligent and incompetent made the remark during a Development Dialogue Session of the Growth Initiatives for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) Project Nigeria on Wednesday in Abuja.
The event themed “Revenue, Remittances, and Resource Beneficiation” forms part of the GIFT Project implemented by OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative (OAI) and its cluster partners, as a USAID-funded activity.
Speaking at the Dialogue, Oke described reports on the country’s financial state as depressing, while raising concerns about prudence in the management of the country’s oil and gas resources.
“To say the least, all these news are depressing to discerning minds. Information contained in the Reports of the Auditor-General for the Federation has huge concerns over the performance, probity, and prudence of managers of our oil and gas resources.
I will share just some snippets from the numerous audit queries raised by the report of the Auditor-General for the Federation on NNPC and NAPIMS between 2014 and 2019.
Delayed payments by customers without evidence of any surcharge for the delays – US$ 510,020,921.79
Incomplete payments by customers – US$ 6,203,863.68;
Outstanding payments by customers – US$ 80,452,746.83
Transfer to undisclosed escrow account – US$235,685,861.31
(Due from the sales of Gas to NLNG was not paid into the Federation Account rather it was transferred to some undisclosed Escrow Accounts).
Unexplained shortfall on NLNG balances – US$ 18,389,334.23;
Payment for gas exports through NGL Funding Account instead of the Federation Account – US$ 346,211,227.59;
Unexplained and unsubstantiated foreign exchange losses on sums paid into the Federation Account – US$ 2,664,047.64;
Gas sales without payment status, payment details or payment confirmation – US$ 9,389,105.80;
Disparities in billing price per unit used in billing and amount stated in sales invoice – $11,973,828.48;
Discrepancies on the Amount Transferred to the Federation Account (₦663,896,567,227.58);
Non-Production of Complete Information on Allocation of Crude Oil to Refineries in 2019; Non-adherence to Payment of all Revenues to Federation Account
Pumped Products From Refineries Without Evidence Of Receipts At Depot (=₦7,056,137,180.00).
He also explained that most Ministries, Department, and Agencies (MDAs) of government ignore invitations by the National Assembly to scrutinise their records.
“These information are in the public records and more serious allegations abound in these reports being shared.
To compound these problems, most of these government entities are corporations and not even ready to subject themselves to scrutiny by the relevant public sector accounting authorities like the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation (OAuGF), Office of the Accountant General for the Federation, Nigeria Customs, Local Content and even the National Assembly.
Multiple times, they had shunned invitations by Committees in the National Assembly or used excuses to avoid attending the public hearings. Some Committees had to take extreme measures to compel their attendance,” the lawmaker added.
GIFT Development Dialogue is held under the auspices of the GIFT Nigeria Project – Growth Initiatives for Fiscal Transparency – being implemented by OrderPaper Advocacy Initiative (OAI) and its cluster partners: Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), HipCity Innovation Centre, CLICE Foundation, and Nigeria Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS).
The initiative also has the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) Project.